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Friday, July 31, 2015

Landover House Fire - East Forest Road

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Just after 11:00 am, Friday, July 31, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in Landover.  Kentland Firefighters were the first to arrive at a 2-story duplex  in the 7200 block of East Forest Road and encountered fire showing from the first floor.

Crews mounted an interior attack and search of the structure finding no one inside.  The fire was knocked down within 15 minutes of arrival.  Three occupants were home when the fire started and escaped safely prior to the fire departments arrival.

The  accidential fire started in the kitchen and caused an estimated $50,000 in fire damage.  There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.  Three adult occupants are displaced and provided with assistance from the American Red Cross.

Photo of conditions on arrival courtesy of PGFD

PGFD Statement Concerning Laurel Regional Hospital Plan

Media are reporting there is a plan to reduce services the current Laurel Regional Hospital provides to the community.

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has, to date, not been made aware of this plan or provided a written copy and therefore not aware of its contents. 

Once received the plan will be reviewed in its entirety.  The Fire/EMS Department will then determine what impact the plan will have on the EMS services we provide between the community and Laurel Regional Hospital.

The Fire/EMS Department will release a statement once our position has been determined, until then, we cannot comment on a plan we have not yet received.

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

Local Fire Fighting Chef Competes on Food Networks "CUTTHROAT KITCHEN"

By: Mark E. Brady, PGFD Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

It seems every firehouse has at least one individual who really enjoys cooking for their shift partners.  Chris Hebert is that person.  He started his fire service career with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Chris aspired to be a career firefighter and his dream would soon become reality with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department (DCFEMS).   As much as he loves being the shift chef, it can be bit challenging at times—especially when a bunch of very hungry people are ready to eat, and at just about the last few minutes before the food is done, an alert for service comes into the station.  Duty has called and off goes the stove, on goes the turnout gear, and out the door we go to potentially save a life, limb, or property.  Interestingly, it appears fire stations that have a good firefighting chef typically have a more cohesive crew.

Chris Hebert, a life member of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, has held various positions since joining in 1994, including driver, Sergeant, Lieutenant Captain, Board Member, and Treasurer.  Chris knew early on that he wanted to pursue firefighting as a profession and has spent a little more than the last fifteen years as a career firefighter in the DCFEMS. 

Although Chris remains somewhat active in an administrative capacity of the volunteer department, the demands of a full time job, growing family, and numerous hobbies prevent him from riding the apparatus.  One of Chris’ hobbies happens to be cooking, and being a firehouse chef at DCFEMS Engine 13 over the years has given him plenty practice in the kitchen.  This hobby-turned-passion also recently landed him a spot on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” a top-rated Food Network show.

Chris and wife Jillyn have been married for 14 years and have two children, Kayla and Kamryn, ages 11 and 8.  The family shares a home in Croom, which they hope to return to upon repairing the damage caused by a lightning strike earlier this year.  Aside from his love for cooking, he enjoys home brewing beer, bike riding, running, and recently started woodworking.  He was about to start on a dining room table project when his home was hit by lightning.  In his “spare” time, Chris completed both the Marine Corps Half & Full Marathons and some other small events.     

When asked about his home-based brewing, Chris stated, “I'm always in search of creating the best IPA ever...almost there!”

Chris will be competing on a Firefighter edition of Cutthroat Kitchen this coming August 16th, at 10:00 p.m.  I did my best to find out the results of the pre-taped show, but Chris remained loyal to his commitment that I would have to watch the episode to find out.  He described the show, saying, “Cutthroat Kitchen isn't a typical cooking competition.  In order to win, a player, in addition to being a good chef, must be able to outwit and, at times, sabotage their opponents.  Each episode features four people vying in three rounds to win up to $25,000 cash.  At the beginning, $100,000 is split evenly among the players to spend however they wish during the game.  The chefs purchase at auctions things that could help them—like buying exclusive use of salt, or hindering their opponents by prohibiting them from tasting a recipe in progress.  One chef is eliminated each round until there is a winner.  Although the competitors want to make purchases at auction to improve their chances of winning, they are cautious about overspending.  The ultimate prize is determined by the amount of money remaining in the winner's bank.  The show is hosted by Alton Brown, who also hosts Good Eats and many other Food Network shows.” 

Upon questioning Chris about his future plans and aspirations, he replied, “I would certainly like to compete on other Food Network shows.  I’d really like to test my abilities on the "Next Food Network Star” or “Chopped”.  If the stars align, hosting my own cooking show that would bring together both of my passions, firefighting and cooking, would be awesome.  A lot of GREAT food is being prepared and shared in firehouse kitchens around the country and, more importantly, even better stories.  I would love the ability to highlight these amazing cooks in a uniquely fun and tasty way.”    

For now, Chris Hebert will continue to fight fires and save lives in the District of Columbia, as well as work on developing and growing “First Arriving Network and Go Forward Media” along with his friend, business partner and fellow Hyattsville member Dave Iannone.  Oh yeah…and find that perfect IPA recipe. 

Firefighting Chef Chris Herbert, we wish you the best of luck on Cutthroat Kitchen.  We will be watching August 16th, at 10:00 pm (EST) on the Food Network.  air date is subject to change.

A viewing party will be held with Chris, his family, friends and co-workers at a fire house themed restaurant in Silver Spring.  Members of the media are invited to attend.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015


MEDIA ADVISORY: “Fire Fighter for a Day – Can You Take the Heat?”

On Tuesday, August 25, 2015, the Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association will be holding its 4th Annual Fire Ops 101 event.  This event will be held in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Fighters 2015 Health, Safety, and EMS Conference.

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is the primary sponsor and creator of the Fire Ops program. The IAFF, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population. The IAFF is the primary advocate for providing fire fighters and paramedics with the tools that they need to perform their jobs.

Fire Ops 101 provides elected officials, community leaders, and the media with a hands-on opportunity to better understand the complexities of what fire fighters do on a daily basis.  This is a once-a-year opportunity will enable media to participate personally, participate and cover with your production crew or participate and share your experiences later.

The program will include suiting up in fire fighter protective clothing, donning self contained breathing apparatus and actually going inside a real fire to experience first hand the environment in which fire fighters work. Obviously, this will be a controlled situation, but will nevertheless provide an opportunity to see and feel what fire fighters deal with on a daily basis. It promises to be a very exciting and informative day.

We ask all interested parties to ensure that they are available to participate in the entire six-hour program. Although this may be a significant time commitment, we assure you that the experience will be memorable and rewarding. Please see the attached IAFF invitation letter for additional information about registering for the event.

For additional information about Fire Ops 101 event please contact IAFF Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis at akpantelis@gmail.com or (301) 674-3448.

The following is a partial list of elected officials who have indicated that they will participate in Fire Ops 101 and are scheduled to attend:
  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen – United States Congress
  • Chairman Mel Franklin – Prince George’s County Council
  • Councilmember Karen Toles – Prince George’s County Council
  • Councilmember Craig Rice – Montgomery County Council
  • Councilmember Marc Elrich – Montgomery County Council
  • Councilman Brandon Scott – Baltimore City Council
  • Councilman Eric Costello – Baltimore City Council
Several additional elected officials have also verbally confirmed that they will attend and are in the process of registering for the event.

Andrew K. Pantelis

Prince George's County Professional Firefighters & Paramedics Association
International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1619
16701 Melford Boulevard, Suite 124
Bowie, Maryland 20715
Office: 301-805-5300
Fax: 301-262-6747

PGFD Receives SAFER Grant to Hire 24 Firefighters


WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, together with U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer and Donna F. Edwards (all D-Md.) today announced that the Prince George’s County Fire Department will receive $3,620,808 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program to hire 24 full time firefighter positions for two years including training and full benefits. As Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski fights each year to increase federal funding for the fire grants program. Senator Cardin is a member of the Finance Committee.

“I know how important this funding is to Maryland communities – often it’s the difference between life and death. First responders protect our homes and communities, and the federal government has a responsibility to protect them by providing them with the tools and staffing they need to do their jobs safer and smarter,” Senator Mikulski said. “Every day when our first responders report for duty, they don’t know what they will face. That’s why I fight every year for the equipment, training, and staffing our protectors and communities deserve.”

“Protecting our communities from harm is one of the most basic functions of government,” said Senator Cardin. “This federal investment will help ensure that the Prince George’s County Fire Department can recruit and retain the best applicants. First responders in Prince George’s county put their lives on the line daily and deserve a federal partner as dedicated to public safety as they are.”

"I am pleased that the Prince George’s County Fire Department will receive these funds that will create more jobs and keep residents and businesses safe.” said Congressman Steny H. Hoyer. “This grant will help the department hire more personnel at their stations and provide the necessary resources and training they need to protect our communities. As a co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I will continue to work on behalf of these brave men and women firefighters and first responders who put their lives on the line every day to ensure our safety.”

“Adding 24 full-time firefighter positions is welcome news for the residents and all first responders in Prince George’s County,” Rep. Edwards said.  “Firefighters are often the first to arrive on scene, and we rely on their professionalism and training in our greatest moment of need.  These additional firefighters will make a measurable impact in protecting our communities.  I thank Sen. Mikulski for her leadership on this issue, and today’s announcement highlights the dedication of Team Maryland to ensure the federal government helps strengthen public safety in Prince George’s County.” 

The goal of any SAFER grant is to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid off due to the economy. The SAFER program provides approximately $340 million in competitive grants to fire departments and statewide or local volunteer firefighter support groups.

Since 2001, Maryland Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units have received nearly $162 million in fire grant funding, of which $32 million of which has been awarded to fire and EMS departments in Prince George’s County.


The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is extremely pleased to have received this SAFER Grant that will allow us to hire 24 Firefighters.  The Department will initiate a hiring process to create a list of eligible candidates with a potential hire date during the first quarter of calendar year 2016.  The 24 recruit firefighters hired through this SAFER Grant will then attend a 6-month Fire/EMS training academy.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor said, "I want to acknowledge U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, together with U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer and Donna F. Edwards (all D-Md.) for their efforts in awarding this Grant.  Our Federal elected officials have always been strong supporters of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services and we appreciate everything they do for us."

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson/PIO
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

PGFD, Safe Kids World Wide, NHTSA & Others Raise Awareness of Kids Being Left in Hot Cars


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors and Safe Kids Worldwide Raise Awareness about the Danger of Kids Being Left in Cars on National Heatstroke Prevention Day

31 children died last year as a result of heatstroke; 11 so far in 2015

WASHINGTON: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Administrator Mark Rosekind and Safe Kids’ President and CEO Kate Carr will hold a press conference to highlight the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. They will join other speakers to share the work being done to help prevent these needless tragedies, including NHTSA’s “Where’s Baby? Look before You Lock” campaign. There will be a live demonstration of an EMS response to a report of a child locked in a hot car. NHTSA will also unveil a new report identifying important features of electronic child reminder alert systems.

WHO:                  NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind
                                President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide Kate Carr
                                Meteorologist Jan Null
                                Vice President of Global Vehicle Safety, General Motors Jeff Boyer
                                Family advocate who lost a child due to heatstroke, Reggie McKinnon
WHAT:                 Press Conference on Heatstroke Prevention

WHEN:                 Friday, July 31, 2015 at 9:15 a.m. ET

WHERE:               Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
                                Woodrow Wilson Bus Loop, outside of the Woodrow Wilson Ballroom
        201 Waterfront St Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Visuals:                A live demonstration will simulate a 911 call from a bystander and subsequent EMT response to show the rescue effort that occurs when a child is left inside a hot car.
All attendees must RSVP to Tamara Grider to attend:  tgrider@safekids.org  or call 646-228-1469.   

Photographers and camera crews may arrive at 8:30 a.m. for set-up. Please indicate if you are bringing a satellite truck in the RSVP.

WUSA 9 Coverage of Missing Man Rescue

WJLA Coverage of Missing Man Rescue

Fox 5 Coverage of Missing Man Rescued by PGFD


3rd Battalion Master Stream Training

On Monday, July 27, B-Shift Battalion Chief 883 Grady Valencis observed Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829 and District Heights Fire/EMS Station 826 drilling on hydraulics and master stream devices.

Great work by both stations!!

 Silver Hill  829's crew training on master stream operations on Homer Avenue today. Lt. Pride, FT Robinson, FF Cargin, Mills, Kay, Crooks, Johnsen, Buckler.

Station 826 drilling as well. Lt. Cooke, FF Waters, Caldrone, Mika, Bowen, Ogilvie, Fisher, McDonough

New Civilian Employees!!!

Please join me in welcoming Personnel Analyst II Chloe Duncan and Community Developer III Nicole Jackson-Young to the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department staff.

Chloe joined the Administrative Services Command on June 15, 2015, after serving for 9 years with the Baltimore County Human Resources Office.  Chloe is a member of our Human Resource Recruitment staff, filling the position previously held by Amanda Jackson.

Nicole Jackson-Young joined the Public Safety Special Events Coordinating Group (PSSECG), under the direction of Deputy Fire Chief Smedley, on June 28, 2015, after having served in various agencies in the Prince George’s County Government – most recently in the Office of Community Relations.  Nicole is a member of the PSSECG staff, filling the position previously held by Michelle Bowles.

Welcome aboard Chloe and Nicole!

We are working to fill additional support staff – I appreciate everyone’s patience, understanding, and hard work as we navigate through the processes to promote and hire folks into vacant positions.

Marc S. Bashoor, Fire Chief
Prince George’s County Fire/EMS
9201 Basil Court, Suite 452
Largo, Maryland 20774

Monday, July 27, 2015

Death Notification of Don "Patch" Aker, Jr., President of the Kentland VFD and Employee of Prince George's County Public Safety Communications Center

It is always difficult to announce the passing of a member of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Service family.  It is particularly challenging to me personally as Don "Patch" Aker, Jr. was a friend and colleague.  My personal condolences to the Aker family, Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Public Safety Communications and to everyone that knew Patch.  Rest in Peace.

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department


All - please see below reference the passing of Don "Patch" Aker, Jr., President of the Kentland VFD and supervisor with the Prince George's County Public Safety Communications Center.

Don touched many of us over the years - in many cases, behind the scenes in ways most people may never fully understand.  Even as cancer impacted his livelihood, Patch continued to rally for a positive path forward for the entire Department.

Please keep the Aker family, members of the Kentland VFD, and his fellow employees at PSCC in your thoughts and prayers.

Marc Bashoor, Fire Chief
Prince George's County Fire/EMS
9201 Basil Ct. #452
Largo, MD 20774


Subject: Official Release/Notification of the passing of President/Firefighter Donald I. ("Patch") Aker, Jr.
        It is with the heaviest of hearts and the deepest of sympathies that the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., Companies 33 and 46 announce the untimely passing of Corporation President/Firefighter Donald I. (Patch") Aker, Jr. For the past year and a half, President Aker valiantly battled esophageal cancer. He lost that battle this afternoon while receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins University Hospital - Bayview Medical Center. 

        "Patch" as he was known throughout the fire service joined the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., Company 33, in September of 1998. He received his "Life Member" status in the same month of 2008. During his continuous, uninterrupted service at Company 33, he attained the rank of Lieutenant and served in the prestigious position of Corporation President since 2008. Prior to being a member of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., he was a member of the West Lanham Hills VFD, Company 28 and a member of the Prince George's County Fire Department's "High School Cadet" program. He was a life long resident of Prince George's County, Maryland, growing-up in New Carollton, attending Parkdale High School and currently resided in the City of Bowie.

        For nearly 20-years, he worked as a dedicated employee with the Prince George's County Public Safety Communications. Serving in capacities as an Emergency Call Taker, Police Department Dispatcher, Fire Department Dispatcher and Training Director.

As of the writing of this, arrangements are being planned and will be distributed to the public once they are available. The leadership of the department (KVFD) has established an "Incident Command" style of funeral management and will be coordinating all events, information exchange, etc. 

        We ask that everyone keep the family, friends, co-wokers and fellow firemen of President Aker in your thoughts and prayers. This is a deep loss for not only the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., but the fire service as a whole.

Tony Kelleher
Chief 33
Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
Companies 33 and 46

District Heights House Fire Ruled ARSON - Walters Place

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Prince George’s County Firefighters battled a fire in a District Heights house that appears to have been intentionally set.  On Sunday, July 26, just before 8 pm, firefighters responded to 911 calls reporting a fire inside of a vacant 2-story single family home at 6515 Walters Place.  Firefighters arrived to find fire showing from the second floor with extension into the attic.

Despite being reported as a vacant structure firefighters still completed a search of the interior.  The 40 firefighters and medics on the scene controlled the fire within 15 minutes of arrival.  No injuries were reported.

Fire Investigators from the County Office of the Fire Marshal conducted a cause and origin investigation and determined the fire was incendiary and started in a 2nd floor bedroom.  Fire loss is estimated at $10,000.

Investigators heard many reports from members of the community that people were in and out of the house since it became vacant.  Real Estate web sites list the property as “bank owned” and most utilities had been shut off, including the water that supplies the residential sprinkler system. 

Residential sprinklers are designed to extinguish a fire in its incipient stages and allow extra time for occupants to escape.  It’s difficult to say what impact a working sprinkler system would have had on this incident but odds are the fire would have been suppressed and not grown in intensity.  The house also was not equipped with smoke alarms, as they all had been removed.

Fire Investigators are asking that anyone with information about this fire and the person(s) responsible to contact them at 301-77-ARSON  (301-772-7766) or Email at 77ARSON@co.pg.md.us.  Callers may remain anonymous.

Conditions on arrival. (image by Paul Hawkins)

(Image by Paul Hawkins)